Bowlsby Out; Who is Next?

With the news of Bob Bowlsby's decision to take the Stanford Athletics Director position comes some serious questions in Iowa City; who will be the next AD? Who will be the next President? What ramifications will those decisions have on the future of Iowa Athletics, namely Kirk Ferentz and Steve Alford?'s Jon Miller, who broke the Bowlsby to Stanford story, takes on some of these questions...

Bob Bowlsby is moving on to warmer and greener pastures.

Stanford's athletics program is always near the top of the Sears Cup, the award that goes to the best athletics program in the nation. Bowlsby will also have a challenge of revitalizing the Cardinal's football and basketball programs.

That won't be an easy task for the private and sometimes academically challenging institution of higher learning.

Some of the best minds in America attend the ‘Harvard of the West'. But when you have access to Google money, anything is possible.

Bowlsby will leave behind a positive legacy at Iowa.

He was able to secure key donations that allowed Iowa to build an athlete only learning center an quality practice facilities for football. He also spearheaded the $90 million dollar Kinnick Renovation plan and laid the groundwork for some improvements to Carver Hawkeye Arena.

No matter your opinion, his name was on the contract that shared the name of Kirk Ferentz.

His name was also on the contract that shares the name of Steve Alford, but Alford was the slam dunk hire at the time.

There will always be a faction of Iowa fans that will be upset with how they felt Bowlsby handled the departure of Tom Davis.

But when you look at Bowlsby's record over 15 years, he comes out well on the plus side of the ledger.

The big problem that now faces Iowa is this; there is no President and now there is no Athletics Director.

Iowa has to first hire a President. That is priority #1. There are few potential Athletics Director candidates that would agree to sign on for the Iowa job without knowing who will be their ‘boss'. Jane Meyer might, as might Fred Mims; they are Iowa lifers, or so it seems. Both of them are highly qualified candidates. UNI AD Rick Hartzell's name will certainly be bandied about.

Another layer of this onion are the current coaches at Iowa, namely Kirk Ferentz and Steve Alford.

The upcoming hires at the President and AD level are a crossroads for Iowa athletics.

Hire the ‘wrong' people, and one doesn't know if that might be enough to make the NFL more appealing to Ferentz. Bob Bowlsby was likely going to extend Steve Alford's contract for recruiting purposes, but now, with his lame duck status, that decision will probably fall to the incoming AD. And you thought that the Johnson County road commission's decision of whether or not to put a road past Kirk Ferentz's house was a big deal.

Iowa State's recent AD hire, Jamie Pollard, came onto their campus with his guns a blazing and has laid down a level of law that has everyone shaking in their boots just a bit.

Will that happen at Iowa? If so, how will that play out?

Who knows.

What we know right now is that Iowa is on the market for two very, very critical and crucial employees, decisions that will shape the next decade of athletics in Iowa City.

If the wrong choices are made, a dark cloud is on the horizon. Make the right choices, and the athletic programs can continue to grow.

The stakes have rarely been this high in Iowa City.

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